The Indian Air Force Friday announced the retrieval of the Cockpit Voice Recorder and Flight Data Recorder — commonly known as the black box — from the crash site of the ill-fated Russian-origin Antonov-32 aircraft in Arunachal Pradesh. The process of recovering the mortal remains of IAF passengers was meanwhile being hindered by inclement weather. On Thursday, the IAF inducted three additional mountaineers to assist the team, with a team of civil, army and IAF personnel also working tandem. The An-32, a Russian-origin aircraft, went missing on June 3, about 30 minutes after taking off from Jorhat in Assam for Menchuka in Arunachal Pradesh. After eight days of search operations, the wreckage of the plane was spotted by an IAF chopper at a height of 12,000 ft near Gatte village on the border of Siang and Shi-Yomi districts. The IAF has termed it as one of the worst military aviation accidents in recent time.
The deceased have been identified as Wg Cdr GM Charles, Sqn Ldr H. Vinod, Flt Lt MK Garg, Flt Lt S. Mohanty, Flt Lt A. Tanwar, Flt Lt R. Thapa, Warrant Officer KK Mishra, Sergeant Anoop Kumar, Corporal Sherin, Leading Aircraftman SK Singh and Leading Aircraftman Pankaj. Poor weather conditions also forced the search teams to temporarily call of its search operations meanwhile. “IAF personnel are in constant contact with the families of these air-warriors and are being updated regularly about the ongoing rescue operations. They are also being explained the challenges about the weather,” it said.
“The mortal remains and other material evidence have to be picked up by helicopters and brought back to Jorhat in stages. The weather continues to be marginal and is likely to affect the pace of recovery operations. The recovery team is braving the treacherous terrain and inclement weather in order to bring back the mortal remains as soon as possible,” IAF PRO Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said in a statement Friday.